Tuesday 23 January 2018

Blizzard left country counting cost of clean-up

Fergus Black

THE worst winter weather for half a century left Ireland counting the cost of millions in damages, repairs and lost business following the blizzard of January 1982.

But any hope of a sizeable bailout from Europe to help with the clean-up bill was quickly dashed after it became clear that only 'token assistance' would be available from the EEC Disaster Fund.

After the country ground to a halt in freezing conditions that turned central heating oil to wax, initial government estimates put the repair bill and losses at a staggering IR£66m – the equivalent of €225m today.

While CIE, airline companies, health boards and the ESB were expected to foot their own bills for overtime and lost revenues, Europe offered just £695,000 (€2.37m) in disaster aid.

That blizzard damage estimate was quickly calculated downwards as a more accurate picture emerged, but it still left a sizeable bill for the State.

Farmers were badly hit with the loss of 4,000 pregnant ewes, along with sugar beet crop losses of £150,000 (€511,600).

Irish Independent

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